Voice for the Actor (DRA2086)

StaffDr Konstantinos Thomaidis - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • Develop critical and professional awareness of issues and practices in the field of theatre and performance
  • Provide a foundation for speaking Shakespeare’s text
  • Explore Greek Tragedy, Restoration Comedy and Samuel Beckett, amongst other genres and playwrights


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Take a sensitive, imaginative and creative approach to the vocal interpretation of literary texts and to evaluate effectively your own and others' performance
  • 2. Reflect on your own vocal usage in order to develop your skills as a performer/actor
  • 3. Apply speaking and listening skills to the analysis and performance of accent, pitch and resonance; design and implement activities and outcomes for the development of vocal skills appropriate to a given context

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Contribute research to small groups in effective presentations, to evaluate visual evidence and to develop advanced confidence in the ability to analyse, critique and manipulate complex material
  • 5. Relate to others in theatrical processes and performances; to work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and to initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work within strict time limits and to solve a number of specific technical problems and apply that understanding to performance work
  • 6. Engage critically and analytically with physical discipline; the development of thoughtful creative processes, understanding of physicalisation in performance and the capacity to articulate that understanding in appropriate ways

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Utilise advanced personal research skills and initiative to set personal objectives that are linked to a sense of challenge and extending boundaries and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies that are self critical as much as self reflective
  • 8. Demonstrate advanced confidence in performance skills and public presentation, in a variety of situations and/or with a variety of audiences, both of dramatic practice and researched material
  • 9. Demonstrate cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback, and to improve communication skills and advanced analytic abilities in discussions

Syllabus plan

This module is concerned with a disciplined approach to relevant exercises and the application of vocal technique in performance. In order to fully appreciate the complex relationship between the actor and the actor’s voice, this unit will also require students to investigate the interaction of vocal anatomy/physiology and the actor’s whole body in creating the quality of voice produced.


Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that during the module you will engage in:

Intensive exploration of vocal technique, from breath support and onset to articulation and registers;

  • Regular vocal practice, including anatomy-based exercises, voice-based devising and group sounding;
  • Vocal practices appropriate for classical text (e.g. Greek theatre and Shakespeare);
  • Investigation of voicing appropriate to contemporary contexts (e.g. as applied to a modern text of choice);
  • Keeping a self-reflexive journal of vocal development and continuous exchange with a ‘vocal buddy’;
  • Research, rehearse and present peer-led vocal workshops on specific areas of voice for actors;
  • Develop your vocal imagination through games, physiovocal practices and ensemble vocality;
  • Create a group voice-led and voice-sensitive performance;
  • Research an individual area of interest and write an essay on your vocal development in this area

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching66Practical workshops, presentations and group discussions, scene work (monologue, dialogue, mini-groups, ensemble), regular voice training exercises
Guided independent study234Reading set texts, watching audiovisual material, research and preparation of workshops in small groups, rehearsals for final performances, reflexive writing, individual tutorials, work on assigned tasks

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Vocal Workshop (pair or group of 3)40-60 minutes1-9Oral, peer and tutor
Monologue and Scene Study10 minutes1-3,5,6,8,9Oral, peer and tutor

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Performance6045-60 minutes (depending on group size)1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9Written (tutor)
Essay402500 words2, 3, 6, 7Written (tutor)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PerformanceWritten and audiovisual portfolio (approx. 3000 words)1-3,5,6,8,9Referral/Deferral period
Essay2500 words2,3,6,7 Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


  • Barton, J. Playing Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 2009)
  • Berry C. Voice and the Actor (London: Virgin Books, 2000)
  • Carey D. and Clark Carey R. The Vocal Arts Workbook and DVD: A Practical Course for Achieving Clarity and Expression with Your Voice (London: Methuen Drama, 2008)
  • Ginther, A. ‘Dysconscious racism in mainstream British voice pedagogy and its potential effects on students from pluralistic backgrounds in UK Drama Conservatoires‘, Voice and Speech Review, 9.1: 41-60 (2015)
  • Hall, P. Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players (London: Oberon, 2009)
  • Kapadocha, C. (ed.) Somatic Voices in Performance Research and Beyond (London and New York: Routledge, 2020)
  • Linklater, K. Freeing the Natural Voice (London: Nick Hern Books, 2006)
  • Linklater, K. Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice (London: Nick Hern Books, 2010)
  • McCallion M . The Voice Book: for everyone who wants to make the most of their voice (London: Faber and Faber, 1998)
  • Rodenburg P. The Actor Speaks: Voice and the Performer (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002)
  • Rodenburg P. The Right to Speak: Working with the Voice (London: Methuen Drama, 1993)
  • Staniewski, W. and Hodge, A. Hidden Territories: The Theatre of Gardzienice (London: Routledge, 2004)
  • Thomaidis, K. Theatre & Voice (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  • Thomaidis, K. ‘What is New in Voice Training?’, Special Issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 10.3 (2019).
  • Thomaidis, K. and Macpherson, B. (eds) Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience (London and New York: Routledge, 2015)

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Key words search

Voice; Voice training; Speech; Acting